Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ICT: Shaky start, glorious ending (5)

2009 in retrospect:
For the nation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, 2009 started on a shaky note but ended gloriously, reports REMMY NWEKE in this review.


And for NIG … it’s applause for NCC

Before then, the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) applauded NCC over the three licenses on 2.3 GHz, and described the process as ingenious, according to the President, NIG, Mr. Lanre Ajayi.

He also said that for NCC to have been able to peg the price for this frequency and yet conduct a transparent sale is inventive and deserves commendation. NIG noted that auctioning is an easier process because the spectrum, which is a limited resource but desired by many, will simply go to the highest bidder. But this may drive broadband Internet out of reach of many Nigerians.

Alternatively, Ajayi said, pegging of the cost was more challenging, because it was more difficult to select who should have it out of many contestants. “Pegging the cost of spectrum is certainly a way of lowering the cost of broadband Internet to Nigerians and guaranteeing deeper broadband penetration in the country,” he said.

Recalling that NIG had always been in the forefront of advocacy for low cost of spectrum for broadband Internet to accelerate broadband penetration in Nigeria.

The group maintained that the process was ingenious, explaining that if NCC had allowed it to linger into auction, highest bidders would pick the licenses but at a high cost, which would be translated eventually to the end-user.

“We applaud the outcome of the process. With this development, Nigerians should braze up for explosive e-Education, e-Health, e-Commerce, e-Government, and other e-Services which ride over Broadband Internet” NIG president said.

They group argued that with this development, Nigerians should braze up for explosive e-Education, e-Health, e-Commerce, e-Government, and other e-Services which ride over Broadband Internet.

September date for Mobitel:

Despite the cancellation that thrilled the 2.3 GHz, the returnee Mobitel Nigeria Limited, announced its readiness to roll out of 40,000 fixed lines by September 2009, just as the telco also announced its preparedness to offer alongside 1,400 free minutes on voice for each of its subscribers.

The company said that as at August 2009, it has invested over $300 million.

Additionally, Mobitel said it expended over $100 million to return to the active table in the industry, by engaging some 600 employees. Yet, $37 million contract was awarded to VocalTec, Alvarion, Main One Technologies, HIS, Helios Towers in the sum of $6m, $8m, $23m respectively.

While the telco signed on Phase3 for its national transmission, even as Gateway Communications was given some contracts too before the latest announcement.

Mobitel, a pioneering provider of telecommunications services in Nigeria is wholly acquired by a consortium led by Omni Ventures in 2008 and offers fixed and wireless voice, data and value-added services focusing on small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and high-end consumers across the country.

Access banks on Cisco, Weco:
Systems integrators, Weco System International is partnering with Global inter-networking service provider, Cisco Systems and Oracle Corporation last year delivered contact centre solution to one of the nation’s leading bank, Access Bank plc.

According to the Managing Director, Cisco Nigeria, Mr. Richard Edet the decision by the bank to go for a full scale multimedia internet protocol contact centre was to re-position itself for the challenges ahead and create a competitive advantage through excellent customer service delivery.

This, he also said, has enabled the bank to focus on wholesale business, while harnessing opportunities in the retail banking market segment in the nation’s financial industry.

A contact centre is a central portal in an enterprise from which all customer contacts are managed and is flaunted generally as part of an enterprise’s overall Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

He explained that typically this kind of CRM is equipped with software that allows contact information, enquiries or service requests to be routed to appropriate people, contacts to be tracked and data to be gathered.

Although he noted that Cisco does not deploy its solution directly to customers’ sites, it, however, has relevant local partners like Weco Systems to deliver this solution at the door steps of the customers.

Weco, he said, was recently awarded the highest Cisco certification for the sub-Saharan Africa, hence they were at home with what they have been doing for the industry.

Edet said this explained why Cisco was confident that Weco could deploy and deliver the right solution to assist the Nigerian financial institutions including Access Bank to achieve global relevance.

Computer Forensics training debuts:
Equally within the period under review, chairman, Certification Board, Computer Forensics Institutes Nigeria (CFIN), Dr. Peter Olayiwola assured that the recent launch of the online training programmes of the institute was a turning point in Nigeria’s quest for technological development.

Also Olayiwola said that the nation will be the greatest beneficiary of the programme, noting that through this initiative, the door is open for all Nigerians including those in Diaspora to take advantage of what digital forensics has to offer in terms of knowledge, skills, expertise, experience, employment and consulting opportunities, wealth creation and digital computer security.

Dr. Olayiwola who spoke at CFIN national secretariat in Lagos, recently, noted that CFIN, a professional organization approved by both the Federal Ministry of Education and Federal Ministry of Justice is about to develop digital and computer forensics experts who will be equipped to contend with the challenges of digital-crime of different dimensions.

He called attention to the fact that since the organization began in 2008, it had opened offices in Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna, with plans to appoint state coordinators for each of the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) country.

Annually, he said, CFIN conducts research and development into new and emerging technologies as well as methods in the science of computer forensics, stating that the certification offered by CFIN is the Chartered Computer Forensics Examiner, which is the result of CFIN’s desire to increase the level of professionalism and advancement  in the field  and science of computer forensics.

“The Certification board maintains a fair, uncompromised process for certifying the competence of computer forensics examiners and sets high forensics and ethical standards for digital and computer forensics examiners. CFIN administers the Chartered Computer Forensics Examiner certification to both law enforcement and non-law enforcement digital and computer forensics examiners who must not at first be computer science graduates,” he said.

Recover N1.1bn or face 7-day ultimatum:
Obviously plagued Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) workers under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC) had in Abuja gave the management of First Bank Nigeria Plc seven-day ultimatum within which to clear a $7 million debt (about N1.1billion) owed the organisation or face the wrath of the workers who were poised to prevent the bank from carrying usual statutory services to its customers.

A letter addressed to the Managing Director, the workers were left with no option than to issue a seven day notice to the bank to clear the matter for both parties interest to avoid crisis, as said by the President and Deputy President of the Association, Comrades E.Y. Kazzah and Gabriel Abah

The group maintained that the process was ingenious, explaining that if NCC had allowed it to linger into auction, highest bidders would pick the licenses but at a high cost, which would be translated eventually to the end-user.

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